This hike was supporting Neil Luckhurst and his Project 100, which is raising funds for the ADK High Peaks Foundation. Neil’s tax-deductible foundation supports many worthy causes, among them the Lower Adirondack Search and Rescue, whose members regularly put themselves in harm’s way to save others. If you’re looking for end-of-year donation ideas, you can click ‘Make a Donation’ at Neil’s project page here.
I’m working towards completing a ‘grid’, of hiking all 46 Adirondack High Peaks in each of the 12 months of the year. Totaling 552 peaks (46 x 12), it’s a multi-year effort for those few (16 as of today) who have actually completed it. It favors people who are methodical and efficient in choosing peaks to hike.
Neil commented, “some people will only hike what’s on a list; other people are willing to hike anything.” Since I had already hiked Armstrong, Gothics, and Sawteeth in December, I joked that I might be the former, and he was on his own after the WolfJaws.
Of course I was in for the whole hike, and even was willing to do it in -10°F temperatures all day, with -25°F wind chills. I was only worried about actually making it, since I hadn’t hiked in a month, and this was 16 miles and 5,500 vertical feet.
We had a broken-out track up to Lower WolfJaw and were treated to some sublime views on the early morning ascent. Descending to WolfJaws Notch the tracks stopped, and we broke trail up over Upper WolfJaw and over to Armstrong.
Neil had wanted to ascend the tricky pitches to Armstrong, which in retrospect was probably harder than the reverse. With some teamwork we made it past the ladder (which was completely buried in snow and ice) and up the remaining ledges.
We were thrilled to find a track between Armstrong & Gothics, giving us a small reprieve from plowing through the several feet of snow. After donning additional jackets, the hike up Gothics was marvelous, with truly angelic views.
We were back to breaking trail between Gothics’ summit, over Pyramid Peak, and down to the Sawteeth junction. From there, it looked like an army had packed out from Sawteeth back to Lake Road, a welcome sight at the end of a long day.
It was definitely a challenge for me, especially being my first snowshoe of the season. But I was more than happy to help out Neil and Project 100. The hiking was challenging, views were glorious and the company was excellent.